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8.12 Adoption Case Records

RELATED CHAPTERS

See Access to Birth Records and Adoption Case Records Procedure.

AMENDMENT

Section 2, Security, Retention and Sharing of Records was updated in March 2019 in line with Adoption and Care Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018, which provides that an adoption agency may disclose an adoption case record to another adoption agency for purposes related to either agency’s functions as an adoption agency. Further information was added in relation to adoption records where an Adoption Order is not made.


Contents

  1. Opening an Adoption Case Record
  2. Security, Retention and Sharing of Records


1. Opening an Adoption Case Record

1.1 Children

An Adoption Case Record for a child should be opened as soon as there is an adoption plan for the child i.e. once adoption has been identified as the Permanence Plan for the child at their Child in Care Review or, where a child has been relinquished for adoption, as soon as the parent's request for adoption has been made. The Adoption Case Record is separate from the child's existing electronic social care case record/file.

The child’s electronic social care Case Record should indicate that a separate Adoption Case Record exists but must not include information in relation to the new identity or address of the child or any information whereby the child’s pre and post-adoption identity could be linked. Such information should only be contained on the Adoption Case Record. This principle applies to information kept in whatever form - electronic, hard copy or microfilm. If the Adoption Plan is formally changed prior to the granting of the order then the information should be transferred on to a CIC file.

Where the plan relates to a group of siblings, there must be a separate Adoption Case Record for each child.

1.2 Applicants to Adopt

An Adoption Case Record should also be opened for every prospective adopter as soon as a formal application has been received. In the case of a couple, a joint case record can be set up for them both. This also applies to foster carers wishing to be considered as adopters.

The prospective adopter’s record must include:

  • Stage One pre-assessment information;
  • A summary of the state of health of the prospective adopter completed by the agency's medical advisor;
  • A written report from a registered medical practitioner about the health of the prospective adopter;
  • Records and observations of DBS check for any members of household aged over 18 years old;
  • Record of interviews with nominated referees and checks with the local authority where the prospective adopter is living;
  • The prospective adopter stage one plan;
  • Assessment plan for the prospective adopter;
  • Information and reports obtained by the agency;
  • Observations relating to the preparation of the prospective adopter;
  • The prospective adopter’s report and the prospective adopter’s observations on that report;
  • Stage Two assessment information;
  • The matching plan;
  • The prospective adopter’s review report and the prospective adopter’s observations on that report where applicable;
  • Relevant information relating to the adoption panel including its recommendation, the reasons for the recommendation and any advice given by the panel to the agency;
  • A record of the agency’ decisions;
  • The recommendation of the independent review panel where applicable;
  • In addition a clear and comprehensive summary of any allegations made against an adopter or a member of the adopters’ family.


2. Security, Retention and Sharing of Records

NMS 27.3. (National Minimum Standards) Staff understand and following the agency’s policy on dealing with requests for access to or disclosure from adoption case records and knows who is responsible for authorising them. They obtain a written confidentiality agreement from the person to whom the agency wishes to disclose the case records or information. This requirement does not cover the child or adopter

Adoption Case Records must be stored in secure conditions. Paper records should be kept in locked cabinets. Electronic records should be password protected.

In cases where an Adoption Order is made, children’s Adoption Case Records will be retained for a minimum of 100 years after the Adoption Order is made. The Adoption Service Manager will first ensure that the Adoption Case Record is complete, and especially contains the ‘Later in Life’ letters and Post-Adoption Contact Agreements.

Where an Adoption Order is not made, an adoption agency must keep the child’s case record and the prospective adopter’s case record for such period as it considers appropriate.

Where an Adoption Order is not made and the agency decides to close the child’s adoption case record, it should transfer the information from this record to the looked after case record, in which case, see Looked After Children. If the child has never been looked after, the agency should destroy the records when no further action is necessary. An example of when this may be appropriate is if the possibility of adoption of a baby was discussed before the child’s birth, but the baby remained with the birth parents.

Where an Adoption Order is not made prospective adopters can be asked if they want their case records retained – in case they may wish to reapply to the agency or another adoption agency to adopt again - and to give their consent to the storage of the case record for whatever period is agreed, after which the record will be securely destroyed.

Before allowing any access to an adoption case record it must be signed and authorised (see Forms Library).

Whenever it is necessary to send any part of an Adoption Case Record by post, either within or outside the Council, the information should be placed in a sealed plain envelope and marked ‘PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL’. When the external post is necessary, then arrangements should be made for copies of relevant documents to be sent by recorded delivery.

An adoption agency may disclose an adoption case record to another adoption agency as it thinks fit for purposes related to its functions or the receiving agency’s functions as an adoption agency (s.2 The Adoption and Care Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018, amending 8(2) of the Disclosure of Adoption Information (Post-Commencement Adoptions) Regulations 2005).

E-mails containing identifying information about adopters or prospective adopters must not be attached to the child’s main record. See Liberi Guidance, Casenotes and documents, child going through the adoption process.

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